This an excerpt from my collaborative Teleclass series with Andrea Rosenfeld,
Broadcast Louder – Class #4 – Blogs, Websites, CMS and E-commerce, Oh My! Which is Right For Your Biz?
Before you even think about creating a blog or website, have you developed your brand identity? Because the look and feel of your website has to incorporate your branding, picking up the fonts, colors and style. You can’t present your creative work or create a site to offer your products and services that doesn’t build upon your brand.
Designers, Programmers and SEO Technicians
Some business owners are extremely savvy and search in Google for a website designer and for other sites that they admire to get ideas of what they want and don’t want. Others may ask a friend to recommend someone or even post a query in community sites and social media. But how do you know if the person you’re selecting is the right person for you? This of course is why web site designers have online portfolios and samples to look at. However, just because they have an extensive portfolio and offer beautiful and creative work, doesn’t mean they are skilled, technically and they MAY not be able to build you a site that can “do” everything you desire or know how to get you great SEO (search engine optimization) to give your website increased ROI (return on investment).
Let’s begin by distinguishing the BIG difference between a website designer and a web technical programmer
Just like a jewelry designers and carpenters are quite different, so are designers and programmers. Of course there are those who can do both, but they will typically be stronger in one area or the other. There are two very different parts to a website, the designing and the building.
The issue of designer vs programmer is confusing because programmers can call themselves designers and vice versa. I will say this. When you visit a designer’s website, most times, you should be able to tell if they are more of a creative or more of a technical programmer, just from the look of THEIR own website. It also helps to click on the sample sites within their portfolio and read through their website, so you are crystal clear about their qualifications.
Different CMSs and why they are Great
Today a website shouldn’t really be built without using a content management system.Why? Because most individuals and companies want access to their own website once it’s built, so they can maintain the content themselves, add new pages and change products when THEY want to, not have to wait for their web designer or pay extra for maintenance.
How do you decide which CMS to use?
I have built websites using WordPress, Concrete5, Joomla, Drupal and more… Some sites are even a combination of a few CMS’s. For example, I recently worked on a combination of Drupal and WordPress, while in another project I used, WordPress, aMember and aWeber. Basically, what you need to know is that the plan and functionality drive a site and each CMS can manipulate the site’s functionality, therefore one may be better than another depending upon your needs. The designer will recommend which CMS to use for your particular site, but because you are in the planning stage, get to know the difference platforms and their functionality, to determine which might be best for you.
Each business has a different set of goals and so their site is structured and designed in a different way. Some creative businesses want to show off their amazing artwork, while others want to sell products. Some have a mission and are looking for a following, so their opt-in is the focus or directing people to sign a petition. In each case, the site must be designed and structured to meet those goals.
Susan’s Top Tips!
1- Title tags, descriptions and keywords for every page and post. Each page and post you create must have a page title that is relevant to the content, a short description and keywords that are relevant to the page or article content.
2- Update your website often so fans know you are busy and working, otherwise they may think you’ve gone out of business!
3- Social media connect buttons easily displayed and share buttons underneath your posts and pages so that your visitors can share your content with others. This is VERY important because you want your content spread around the internet to increase your visibility.
4- All your images within galleries or within your site’s pages should be named and sized properly and be in the right format! RGB, not CMYK and either jpg, gif or png. Don’t upload images with numbered names or that are 4-5 MB in size, the web can’t handle it and no one’s waiting around for the image to load.
5- If you haven’t yet stepped in front of the video camera, get moving… YouTube is listed at #2 of the most searched websites! An don’t forget to name your video with titles, and tags also!